IOS devices were not designed with a centralized file management system like desktops use. Each app handles the files it creates. There are some sharing options allowing you to open a file in a different app along with apps for each of the cloud storage services you use. This can quickly become both awkward and time-consuming. Fortunately, there’s Documents [iOS – free].
Not only is Documents an impressive file management system, it is also an amazing document viewer and media player. In the example above, you are looking at the Documents app on my iPad. I have selected the ChannelGuide.pdf file shown in the current folder and I have a number of actions available in the left sidebar. I can copy or move it to one of the folders you see in the main screen or to any number of cloud storage platforms. I can even easily move files from my iPhone to my iPad.
Looking at the tools in the sidebar and you see many basic file management options. Need to download a document from the Web? No problem! Safari displays an Open in… button for PDF downloads (along with other formats). Tap the button and then tap the Documents icon and the file is downloaded to the Downloads folder in the Documents app. You can also use Documents’ built-in browser to view and download documents on the Web.
This is what the main screen looks like on an iPad. In the sidebar, the Documents file space has been selected and those folders and files appear in the main screen. Tap a file to open it in an appropriate viewer/media player. The Downloads folder is the default location for files you download from the Web. The iPod Library folder allows you to play files located in your device’s Music app. The files remain in the Music app and are just played in the Documents media player. You can also connect to the Photos app and copy photos to or from Documents.
If you use more than one cloud storage provider, you can connect to each within Documents and easily view, copy, move and manage files in them all. Once you connect to the service in Documents, moving and managing files between services is just as easy as moving between folders.
In the example above you see that in addition to iCloud, I’m also using Dropbox and Box. Other cloud options include OneDrive and Google Drive. Servers supporting WebDAV, FTP and SFTP can also be accessed using Documents. And, if you have multiple iOS devices you can AirDrop files between them.
This is just the file management side of Documents. Stay tuned . . . there’s a lot more mobile goodness in the reader/media player side of this app. Readdle also has a number of other useful apps. Many of them can make going mobile a whole lot easier.